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 Post subject: Bad Old Days??????????
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2000 10:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
There was a time, not that long ago, when the ballet companies of certain countries consisted almost exclusively of dancers who were citizens of that country, or graduates of the ballet company's school. To some degree this abetted a "national" look to the company. The Danish dancers were steeped in Bournonville, for instance. The English were said to have a certain style - and certainly the Russians and French also. If America had one it was usually considered Balanchine.<P>Today, these national boundaries in ballet have for the most part disappeared. This cross pollination brings many wonderful things - more diversity - more opportunities for the dancers - more opportunities for the audience to see other dancers - more opportunities to learn for everyone - all positives. Are there any negatives? Will certain styles disappear such as Bournonville? Will some be "diluted" and is this a good thing? Is it possible to have the positives and still have these national styles?<P>These are some questions that occur to me - and I for one have no answers -


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Old Days??????????
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2000 10:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A whole range of issues Basheva. By nature I am an internationalist and if Diaghelev hadn't infected Western Europe with the traditions of the Russian ballet and his own synthesis of artistic modernism then we wouldn't have much to talk about here.<P>Some are unhappy about the loss of an English style, but the change, which many attribute to Nureyev, was before my time watching dance. All I can say is that Guillem (France), Durante (Italian but RBS trained), Tamara Rojo(Spanish trained), Carlos Acosta (Cuban trained), Johan Kobborg (Royal Danish) and others from overseas grace UK ballet and make all our lives more pleasurable. I don't know what it would be like if we still had a largely domestic company.<P><BR> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited October 26, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Old Days??????????
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2000 11:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Nureyev definitely made a very clear change in style - especially for the men - at the Royal Ballet. I saw it - it was very obvious. If was almost as if a line had been drawn "before Nureyev" "after Nureyev" sort of like - BN and AN.<P>I guess my question is - though we have a great deal to gain by this internationalization - are we losing anything?<P>How will quintessentially French - or Danish (Bournonville), Russian - or English ballets(Ashton for example) be danced by dancers who don't have that in their bones? <P>Right now for the most part - we still have the older retired dancers to coach in those ballets (some of them at least) but when they are gone - is that heritage gone? <P>There is a great heritage here - that could be lost. I am not sure what the answer is - but it needs to be talked about. One can lose the taste of fresh milk through the process of homogenization.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Old Days??????????
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2000 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2000 11:01 pm
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We may have entered an era where internationalization is inevitable -- it's the dance equivalent of economic globalization. Which doesn't mean that we can't discuss the positives and negatives! The adulteration of native styles is a risk, but I think the potential benefits outweigh them. It shouldn't be a problem to have emigres from different countries (and companies) moving on to new homes as long as they're able to find a company and a style to which they can make a contribution and which in turn can nurture them and help them grow as artists. However, I also think (moving slightly away from the topic)that it is important for them to find a company where they can put down roots. The opera model, where big stars can travel all over the world and go from house to house, doesn't seem to work for dancers. It helps the box office, but it doesn't help the dancers to develop; often they exploit the skills they have without acquiring anything else. (There are exceptions, obviously, of which Nureyev was one, I'd argue.)<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Old Days??????????
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2000 4:07 pm 
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That's very thoughtful Dirac - I suppose that the world is surely going in the direction of globalization - this medium a case in point.<P>I just hate to see some of the heritage of the national styles/schools lost, but I am not sure they can be saved.<P>As for Nureyev - his capacity for curiousity and learning was insatiable all his life. He had many faults - as do we all - but these were certainly assets. I understand that even as he knew he was dying he was tyring to learn how to conduct an orchestra.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Old Days??????????
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2000 6:15 am 
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GRace - you are so right about honey all tasting the same now!! But, if we want to we can again individualize the collection of honey.<P>However, I am afraid that once lost this unique heritage of the ballet will be permanently lost. With every year that passes we lose the body memories of the older dancers.<P>Perhaps to some questions there are no answers - no matter how serious the question - but there should be concern.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Old Days??????????
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2000 7:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The company that I see the most is the Royal Ballet. I fully support Michael Kaiser's strategy that it is like an art gallery with three wings - one for the 19th C rep, one for the 20th C rep and one for work by current choreographers. Incidentally, for the Royal, the weakest element here is the third, rather than the first two. Paris Opera Ballet is probably the Company where this mission statement is most closely put into practise - another company that is generally considered to have been revitalised by the overseas influence of Nureyev. <P>I have seen it expressed elsewhere that the Royal should be a heritage company devoted primarily to the work of Ashton and the classics ie go back to the situation around 30 to 40 years ago. I don't think this is desirable. Firstly I would like to see more resources given to current choreographers, such as Forsythe and the younger UK generation, to ensure the development of ballet. Most of the dancers that I have spoken to certainly want to maintain or increase the amount of new work. Secondly, a lot of us here judge MacMillan to be a more interesting choreographer than Ashton. This may come as a surprise to readers in the US, where MacMillan generally seems to have a low reputation.<P>Does the Royal perform Ashton's work as well as it once did? I wasn't around then, but I suspect not, although 'Marguerite and Armand' has been well received. However, Ashton's bizarre arrangements for the ownership of his works, and the resulting lack of a Trust or the firm and knowledgable hand of someone like Deborah MacMillan is the main reason why his rep is at risk. Having said that the RB and the BRB are performing much Ashton at the moment, which is good to see. Both companies make extensive use of older dancers from outside the Company when reviving these works.<P>To summarise, I think that the current strategy of the three wings is right - I do want to see Forsythe as well as MacMillan, Ashton and 'Giselle'. Combined with the recuitment of outstanding overseas dancers like Tamara Rojo, I suspect that this does have the consequence that the style of the Company will be more international than the days when Ashton and the classics were the mainstay. <P>Thus I agree with dirac that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited October 28, 2000).]


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